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ThinkWell at HSR2022

10 January 2023

In November, twelve members of the ThinkWell team participated in person and remotely in the Seventh Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2022). The symposium provided a forum for experts to discuss strategies and practices that will help combat global health challenges, a marketplace to showcase the latest relevant research, and a platform to connect with fellow practitioners and researchers face-to-face for the first time since the pandemic.

The theme of this year’s symposium was “Health Systems Performance in the Political Agenda: Sharing Lessons for Current and Future Global Challenges.”

Our Strengthening Strategic Purchasing for Primary Health Care (SP4PHC) team led and participated in sessions that explored a variety of health financing and purchasing challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and showed how the team is supporting countries to address these challenges in pursuit of universal health coverage. The ThinkWell team was actively involved in wider discussions concerning health systems and policy issues, offered their unique insights from health financing practices in several LMICs, and learned further how peers are addressing key challenges to areas like human resources, information flow, and supply management.

In addition to an all-day session cohosted by our team and several of our partners—Results for Development (R4D), the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center (SPARC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and KEMRI Wellcome Trust—members of our Indonesia team also contributed to a two-day satellite session led by the Technical Working Group on Private Sector in Health (PSIH). Our SP4PHC team led a panel debate around telemedicine integration and an oral presentation around how our Philippines team is untangling the complex funding flows for family planning services. Members of our Economics of Last Mile Delivery Hub team also contributed to the UNICEF satellite session on financing the delivery of vaccines.

In addition to these extended sessions, several of our team members shared poster presentations on topics ranging from an analysis of Kenya’s free maternity program performance to the nation’s public financial management issues to adjusted government health financing during COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Find details for satellite sessions, oral presentations, and posters below.


What keeps us from separating ends and means in health system reform? (satellite session)

Agnes Munyua (R4D), Cheryl Cashin (R4D), Edwine Barasa (KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme), Gemini Mtei (Abt Associates), Grace Kabaniha (WHO), Hélène Barroy, Joe Kutzin (WHO), Nathaniel Otoo, Nirmala Ravishankar (ThinkWell), Octavio Gomez-Dantés (National Institute of Public Health), Rozita Halina Tun Hussein (Ministry of Health Malaysia), Scott Greer (University of Michigan), Susan Sparkes (WHO), Wangari Ng’ang’a

Objectives of reform are often conflated with the instruments for achieving them. Ends-driven reform remains a hallmark of health systems research, yet the means continue to motivate change in many settings. This session dug into what “ends-driven” represents in practice, illustrated with specific examples of challenges and progress.

Primary care in an increasingly virtual world: Integrating telemedicine into LMIC health systems (panel discussion)

Alfonsius Pratama Timboel (Halodoc), Anooj Pattnaik (ThinkWell), Pura Angela Co (ThinkWell), Regis Hitimana (Rwanda Social Security Board), Shalmali Radha Karnad (HealthX Africa), Tracey McNiell (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

As populations became hesitant to visit health facilities during COVID-19, telemedicine saw an uptick in demand and use. While telemedicine has been growing largely in private marketplaces in low- and middle-income countries, this change because of COVID-19 has prompted governments to try to find better ways to purchase telemedicine services and better integrate them into the health system. This session shared the perspectives from the government, purchaser, telemedicine provider, and external funder sides.

Recordings from this session will be made available shortly.

Contribution of the Private Sector in Health Systems Resilience and Reform: Stronger together beyond COVID-19 (oral presentation)

Edward Sutanto (ThinkWell), Anooj Pattnaik (ThinkWell), Nadhila Adani (ThinkWell), Nirwan Maulana (ThinkWell), Halimah Mardani (ThinkWell), Anita Putri (ThinkWell), Trihono (ThinkWell)

In response to COVID-19, many country governments and private providers have established innovative approaches for meeting pressing health needs and capacity gaps. This has involved new kinds of engagement between government and a variety of private non-state organizations. This interactive session explored examples from different countries to identify lessons from this experience and challenges to be addressed in future strategies for strengthening mixed health systems. ThinkWell presented on “Bridging the Gap: How private midwives have filled family planning gaps in Indonesia since the introduction of national health insurance.”

Health system resourcing: Whose priorities? (oral presentation)

Caroline Whidden (Department of Disease Control, LSHTM), Claudia Vélez (Universidad de Antioquia), Diu Nguyen (Abt Associates), Edson Serván-Mori (Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, México), Geminn Louis Apostol (ThinkWell), Luciana Souza d’Ávila (Escola de Saúde Pública do Estado de Minas Gerais)

During this session, ThinkWell showed a mapping of the complex and multiple financing roles and expenditure flows for family planning in the Philippines.

Implementing COVID-19 Vaccine Costing Studies: Methodological challenges (oral presentation)

Flavia Moi (ThinkWell)

To address the evidence gap on the cost of delivering COVID-19 vaccines, the immunization economics team implemented bottom-up costing studies in six countries (Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, and DRC in Africa and Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines in Asia). At UNICEF’s HSR satellite session on the financing and delivery of vaccines, the team presented on the methodological challenges encountered while conducting these studies.

Mapping the complex and multiple financing roles and expenditure flows for family planning in the Philippines: A nationwide study from 2018-2019 (oral presentation)

Geminn Louis Apostol (ThinkWell)

There are multiple purchasers of family planning (FP) services in the Philippines’ fragmented and devolved health sector with no single, strategic purchaser to drive down healthcare prices and demand quality and efficiency. During this session, the various roles and flows were broken down and presented alongside potential reconfiguration to optimize financing for FP services.

Running Ahead: Scaling Up Primary Health Care Systems in Antique and Guimaras During the COVID 19 Pandemic (poster)

Philip Ian Padilla, Marilyn Sumayo, Joseph Arbizo, Maugri Grace Kristi Laluma, Mary Camille Samson, and Helena Marie Alvior (ThinkWell)

Implementation of the Linda Mama Free Maternity Program in Kenya: Findings from Isiolo County (poster)

Janet Keru (ThinkWell), Shano Guyo, Boniface Mbuthia (ThinkWell), Anne Musuva (ThinkWell), and Ileana Vîlcu (ThinkWell)

Are counties using data to efficiently manage human resources for health? Findings from Makueni County in Kenya (poster)

Felix Murira (ThinkWell), Janet Keru (ThinkWell), Ileana Vîlcu (ThinkWell), Anne Musuva (ThinkWell), Boniface Mbuthia (ThinkWell), and Nirmala Ravishankar (ThinkWell)

Examining the application of public finance management in the health sector within the context of devolution in Kenya (poster)

Boniface Mbuthia (ThinkWell), Ileana Vîlcu (ThinkWell), Anne Musuva (ThinkWell), and Felix Murira (ThinkWell)

Challenges from the Philippines’ Mandanas Garcia ruling (poster)

Rafael Deo Estanislao (ThinkWell)

Policy gaps in managing solid and health care waste during the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives from the Philippines (poster)

Geminn Louis Apostol (ThinkWell), Angelina Gabrielle Acolola, Michelle Alexandra Edillon, and Sary Valenzuela

How does integration affect the cost of immunization campaigns? Findings from Nigeria and Sierra Leone (poster)

Christina Banks (ThinkWell), Flavia Moi (ThinkWell), Kyle Borces (ThinkWell), Laura Boonstoppel (ThinkWell), Obinna Onwujekwe (University of Nigeria), Divine Ndubuisi Obodoechi (University of Nigeria), Florence Sibeudu (University of Nigeria), Michael Matthew Amara (MOHS, Sierra Leone), Faisal Shuaib (NPHCDA, Nigeria), Maimuna Hamisu (NPHCDA, Nigeria), Bassey Okposen (NPHCDA, Nigeria), Binta Ismail (NPHCDA, Nigeria), Logan Brenzel (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

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